Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Ky. lauded for government planning


Study: computers were fine-tuned

By Janelle Carter
The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — There's a positive side to the Y2K bug: Most state governments have improved their computer systems and are doing a better job at delivering services, a study finds.

        “The computer bug that never materialized has ironically been working all this time in ways we never expected,” said Dale Jones, director of the Government Performance Project at The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. The Y2K work had a “spillover effect” from information technology to other management systems, he said.

        In addition to information technology, the states were graded by the school and Governing magazine on their management of finances, capital and human resources as well as managing for results.

        Michigan, Utah and Washington scored the highest and 23 states improved their grades, but six states displayed the most improvement overall: Alabama, Cali fornia, Idaho, Maine, New Mexico and New York, said the study called “Grading the States: A Management Report Card,” out today.

        Kentucky received a B-plus in the report, up from a B two years ago.

        “There are themes that stand out in certain states, and in Kentucky that's planning,” said Katherine Barrett, special projects editor at Governing. Ms. Barrett said Kentucky is one of just a few states that issues consensus estimates for long-term expenditures.

        “When you think about it, trying to project expenditures a few years out is just good common sense. But many states don't do that,” Ms. Barrett said.

        Among the states with the greatest improvement, the authors singled out Alabama, where scores improved in four of the five areas. In 1999, Alabama was the only state to receive a D grade overall. This year, it got a C-minus overall after implementing long-term fiscal planning.

        The fear of Y2K glitches “pushed states, harder than any consultant's report ever could, to think of technology management as an entity-wide issue,” the study said.

       



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